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HR Jargon: Bothersome buzzwords. By Sarah Fletcher

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Sarah Fletcher asked our HR Zone members for the strangest buzzwords they had met in the workplace. At what point do business metaphors take that slippery slope into jumbling jargon? Our HR professionals revealed some bizarre dealings with plastic coatings, ball parks and bus journeys… read on to find out more.


Employees are often told to prove themselves and “walk the talk”, but in the world of business jargon, this involves all kinds of strange sounding activities – thinking outside of a box, running up a flagpole, flying with it, singing from the same hymn sheet. After all that frantic activity, you’ll be too exhausted to manage any actual work.

Our members share their experiences with the weird world of business jargon as HR professionals reveal their creative side!

  • Petrice Dillon reveals a strange encounter with Teflon and rollerblades:
    • Teflon coated – referring to a manager who would not take responsibility for anything HR related!

    • We’re all on the bus, heading in the one direction – to which we responded “the rest of us are hanging on the bumper on rollerblades, this place is a low cost operation you know!”


  • Jonathan Senior enlightens us to “consultants bingo”, a veritable master card of fashionable buzzwords. Every time an employee says a trendy phrase, you mark it off. Favourites include:
    • Baseball metaphors – Hardball, Touch Base

    • Pseudo science – Synergy, Mindset, Empower, Proactive, Knowledge based, Gap Analysis.

    • More sports-themed jargon – Game Plan, Win-win, Team Player.


  • Lucy Hibbert gets spiritual and has a box-shaped moment:
    • Let’s see if we’re singing from the same hymn sheet.

    • Think outside of the box.

So there you have it; a cut out and keep guide to the mysterious world of business jargon. Next time a co-worker starts talking about Teflon or public transport, maybe you’ll have more of an idea what they’re talking about!

Have you had a close encounter with a confusing buzzword? Post your additions below.

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